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By M. Rosie

The query of sectarianism in Scotland belongs inside of a much broader framework than it has hitherto been put. It bargains insights into carrying on with, certainly urgent, debates approximately spiritual identification and civil and political society within the sleek international. This publication questions the view that faith and politics don't, and can't, combine in pluralistic, tolerant and more and more secular societies, and divulges that memories--bitter memories--can outlive and vague the loss of life of tangible clash.

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Proportionately almost six times as many people in Western Isles, Skye and Lochalsh were found in Church than in Angus; whilst double the proportions attended Church in Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire than in the Lothians or Fife. Much of this variation reflects the geographical distribution of various denominations. For example, West Central Scotland accounts for approximately 42 per cent of the Scottish population, but contains 70 per cent of Catholic churchgoers. More than two-thirds of the smaller Presbyterian Churches’ attenders were found in the rural north, with 43 per cent found in Western Isles, Skye and Lochalsh, an area containing less than one per cent of Scotland’s population.

Scottish Catholic schools have proved a focus of debate on ‘sectarianism’ and it is symptomatic of the narrow, even parochial, focus of much of this debate that some commentators argue that this is largely, or exclusively, a Scottish phenomenon. ’ 53 Again, a broader view is instructive. Since 1918 the state has funded, administered and extended the Scottish Catholic school system. In Scotland’s Catholic state schools religious instruction is guaranteed; and the Church enjoys a religious veto on all teachers and other staff employed.

The 2001 Census of Scotland introduced a question on religion, and for the first time we have a comprehensive picture of self-described religious identity in Scotland. By marrying together the official Census and the Church Census we can compare the approximate proportion of self-identified Protestants and Catholics attending church throughout Scotland. Assuming that ‘cultural defence’ was elevating religious activities where ‘sectarianism’ was strongest, we would expect to find particularly high rates of attendance – for both Protestant and Catholic – in such areas.

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